In 2013, in preparation for a panel at the Austalian National Convention I did a lot of searching around the internet and created a spreadsheet tracking the output of Australia and New Zealand’s published fantasy writers.
To keep the work involved manageable, I kept to writers published by big to middling sized publishers. I also stuck to writers of what I call ‘alternate world’ fantasy – fantasy set mainly in an alternative world to our own – to avoid the complications of deciding where to draw the line between fantasy and urban fantasy/horror/alt history. Then when it came to young adult books, I only included those authors that had published books that had clearly made a mark in the adult market.
My research revealed that, in the years I covered, two thirds of Australian and New Zealand fantasy writers were women. I even worked out how to make charts to show this:
This wasn’t a surprise to us, nor to anyone who has looked at the genre Down Under. I’ve long been asked what is is about my homeland that produces such great female fantasy writers.
But we don’t just produce great female writers, we have some fine male ones, too. At World Fantasy Con in 2013 I was asked for some names and that inspired me to keep a list here. Unlike the Recommended Reading pages above, I haven’t read all of the authors listed, so I’ve linked to their Goodreads page so you can read the blurbs and reviews to help you decide who to try.
I doubt this is a complete list and I admit it’s a little fuzzy around the edges of the alternative world fantasy category. There are always new authors arriving on the scene, so feel free to email me with suggestions. But remember, they need to be published by middle to large publishers, for the adult market, and write fantasy not set entirely in this world.
K J Bishop
Rowena Cory Daniells
Karen Miller/ K E Mills
Tansy Rayner Roberts
Jane Routley/Rebecca Locksley
K J Taylor